How to Get Noticed and Advance in Your Career

After finishing a degree and gaining some highly technical skill, it is of no wonder that any person can succeed in his chosen path of profession.  This is true but provided that he has the so called ‘X Factor’ that many companies look for in leaders or would-be heirs to the corporate leadership.

Whether you like it or not, knowledge and skills is not enough to go up in the career ladder.  You also need the guts to get noticed.

Acquiring knowledge and skills is one thing.  Indeed you need to invest time and even money to learn the tricks of your trade. These are your hard skills.

But there is the other skill-set you could be missing- the soft skills.  These soft skills involve your abilities that are usually hard to quantify and are more related to your interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

One way of finding out how to develop your own qualities that will get you up there, is to look at the job requirements of the position you are eyeing.

While most of these descriptions are general, there are 5 qualities that exemplify a promising leader.  Strive to develop these while doing your job and see how it works.

1. Charming.

It may be mistakenly identified with pleasing personality or be confused with it.  But what divides the pleasing from the charming is that the latter is able to win the person’s heart by gaining his confidence and unknowingly open up more.

Apart from keeping an appealing physical appearance, you need to learn how to make a conversation and consciously lead the person to open up.  A charming person usually is able to do this within 10 minutes and as such win a lot of friends.

In the professional sense, try to practice this by preparing for it with a topic to discuss, finding out more about the person you are going to talk to and rehearsing your tone of voice.

2. Investing in relationships.

Someone who is willing to go an extra mile to give or provide a good service is someone who is willing to develop a relationship.  This is a general concept in account management or in winning a girl’s heart.  However, we usually take this for granted in our day-to-day interaction.

By extra mile, we refer to being able to open up yourself – this time- and sometimes to the point of vulnerability.  In short, it can be giving away something not necessarily intangible.

Try doing this consciously among your colleagues at work.  Stop by and spend a few moments to talk to those involved in your projects. Tension breaks out if people have developed some relationship and allowed some relaxed non-work discussions.
3. Warm.

Come across as someone who genuinely cares by showing your concern for people.

Ask how people are doing with their work once in a while or how they are coping with some recent pressure or load of work. Remember birthdays, names of your colleagues’ wife or kid, and other personal details.  Without being too invasive, get interested in someone’s personal life to some extent.

Be interested with people.

4. Possesses strong ambition.

Dreaming big is not a problem. Expressing these visions matter too.  If it has been executed and made successful, it also has to be known and appreciated.

Tell your boss even your mini-visions and your successes as well.  We would tend to avoid being a ‘show’ in our work environment.  However, it is inevitable that we need to let people know who we are and what good we do.  This is because there are people who are only good for show-offs and they will get ahead of you.  Nobody wants people getting up in the ranks who do not deserve it.

Show your low hanging fruits in regular meetings but let it appear like reporting what happened. Talk about your plans for your work or team that are promising.

5. Have a ‘can do’ attitude.

It’s not about always saying yes.  It’s about showing your openness to new challenges and showing interest on both the pros and cons of these issues.

Show a positive outlook without losing realism.  Given a difficult assignment that is almost impossible, say what you think can be done and cannot be done without closing the doors. Say that you will investigate further instead of saying “I don’t know the answer” .


Obvious as it may sound, visibility is important if you want to get noticed and get a promotion. Do your work well but do not take for granted an important factor of success which is being human, treating people as such and contributing to a happy work environment.

Rob Leonardo created ConfidenceCues ( to share his learnings on improving self-confidence and assertiveness. His blog adheres to the belief of strong support system to make self-improvement effective.  He is also a market research professional and lives in Singapore with his wife and three-year old daughter.

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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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